Filipino cager offered to play in Aussie League


MANILA, Philippines -- Jason Williams Castro may soon become the first ever Filipino import to play in the Australian National Basketball League.

The 5-foot-8 Harbour Centre Batang Pier playmaker is being offered to play for the Singapore Slingers in the Australian National Basketball League.

Ben Knight, team captain of the Slingers, the first Asian-based club in the NBL, said the ballclub is determined to get the services of the former Philippine Christian University stalwart whom the Slingers saw when they played the Harbour Centre-backed RP team in a series of exhibition games last year in Singapore as part of the Nationals' preparation for the 24th Southeast Asian Games.

Knight had become even more impressed with Castro when he played against his team in the recent South East Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Champions Cup in Jakarta, where the Slinger team captain played as the import for the Malaysian national team.

?He's improved a lot the first time I played against him. Shooting, dribbling skills, everything,? said Knight.

Likewise, he added the presence of Castro, former back-to-back PBL Most Valuable Player (MVP), would help draw the crowd in during Slingers' games at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, considering the huge number of Filipinos currently based as overseas workers there.

?I say Jason could probably attract 2,000 Filipinos to come in and watch him and the Singapore Slingers play,? Knight added.

Playing overseas meant skipping this year's Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Draft for Castro, where he is already eligible to apply.

But Danny Espiritu, Castro's agent, said they are really seriously considering the Slingers' offer since it is a once-in-a- lifetime deal. At the most, they are looking to sign a two-year contract before Castro, 22, plies his trade to the PBA.

Harbour Centre team owner Mikee Romero wished Castro the best.

?I am not one who will hinder the growth and development of my player. It's a good opportunity for Jason and I really do wish him the best. Hopefully, he can help us win a championship again before he leaves Harbour Centre,? said the basketball patron.

Castro is a proven winner, having won two PBL championships with the Batang Pier and two more cage titles with the national squad.

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